2011 Press Releases

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2012 S&D Conference Keynoter, USAF's Brian Shul, Personifies Show's Perseverance Theme

Contacts: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, December 5, 2011 – Retired U.S. Air Force pilot Major Brian Shul was shot down during the Vietnam War, and sustained significant burns in the crash when he was unable to eject. He endured 15 surgeries over the next year in military hospitals, and was told he would never fly again.

His story of perseverance against the odds is a natural fit for the theme of NBAA's upcoming 23rd Annual Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, where Shul will present the keynote address alongside NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

"Our theme is 'Pushing the Envelope: Beyond All Limits,' and Major Shul personifies this," explained conference chairman Chad Hartke. "He was determined to recover. Brian was lucky to survive at all, and he decided he wasn't going to just lay there and die."

Instead, Shul fought his way back into the cockpit, and the Air Force. He eventually regained flight status, and his 20-year career in the USAF culminated in earning a spot among the elite group of airmen chosen to fly the vaunted SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft. "This is a true story of inspiration," Hartke added. "Shul battled back, and wound up flying the world's coolest plane."

Hartke believed Shul's story is one that conference attendees need to hear, and one they may draw their own inspiration from in the face of the current difficulties facing business aviation in the economic and policy arenas. "They're not just coming to hear some pilot talk," Hartke said. "Major Shul offers a philosophy of living life fearlessly, and pushing through the obstacles in your way. His message will help [our industry] get where we need to be."

The 2012 Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference will be held January 15 to 18 in San Diego, CA. The conference includes over 30 education sessions designed to inform and inspire all flight team members who share the responsibilities of managing business aircraft flight operations. Hartke said San Diego's historic role in military aviation, and in particular its time as the home to the U.S. Navy's TOPGUN flight training program, inspired the overarching theme of the conference.

"When I was asked to chair this year's conference, the first thing I thought of was 'Top Gun,'" he explained. "I was 13 years old when the movie came out, and it was all the buzz. That year, I went to an air show in Cedar Rapids and the main show was an F-14 Tomcat. That's where my whole aviation inspiration began."

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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